Monday, December 7, 2009

15 Questions about Art :: Lisa Solomon

Lisa Solomon is an artist and educator best known for her body of work which questions and deconstructs the meaning of identity through the exploration of mediums traditionally associated with domestic crafts.

Born in Tuscon, AZ to a Japanese mother and a Caucasian father, she now lives and works in Northern California with her husband, daughter, 2 dogs, 2 cats and many, many spools of thread.


What is your earliest art-related memory?

I was 2, in Japan with my mother for her mother’s funeral. We sat around the edges of a room while a Buddhist monk chanted in the middle. My mom wore a black kimono with her family crest on the lapel.

It wasn't so much art related as it was my first really strong "seared into my brain" visual. That black fabric with the white crest and the whole experience is something that in some ways I think informs what I look at and how I look at things today.

bed drawing :: beds in poppyland, 2007

Who has had the greatest influence on your work?

It’s impossible to name one person.

What are the main tools of your craft?

Research, thread, needles, colored pencils, acrylic, ink, small brushes [very very small], felt, pins, crochet hooks, wood, found paper, duralar, fabric, embroidery hoops.

his + hers :: lung cancer, 2009

Is a formal education important?

Only if it helps you.

What is the biggest misconception about art?

That it’s all easy and fun. I always get irked when I hear people say “Oh you get to PLAY all day in the studio. Isn’t that fun?”

As much as I love being in the studio, it isn’t always fun. Some days it’s hard and some days it's uncontrollably heart wrenching. What art-making IS is rewarding and something that I feel like I “need” to do - not just a “hobby” or something I do in my spare time.

Which is more important in art - concept or execution?

Both, equally.

What theme or aesthetic are you most drawn too?

I like so many things for so many reasons: Minimalism, pop art, dada, graffiti. I tend to like things with impeccable use of negative space, or interesting use of materials. I’m into hybridization.

It’s just got to hit you in the gut, or heart, or mind.... Then it’s working.

Detail of installation at the Koumimachi Museum, Japan :: synchronized tanks/argyle, 2007

What is your favorite piece of art in your home?

Changes daily. I love my katherine sherwoods, my aurora robsons, my kimberly austins, my amy karol, alyson fox, jay kelly, lynn beldner, jason escabedos, grace munakata, richard shaw, ron nagle, lisa congdon, gracia habby/louise jensen, camilla engman, wendy crabb, alison garnett, elizabeth soule, miya ando stanoff, aida gamez, jennifer garrido, mati mcdonough, heather smith jones, andy phares,... and I feel like I’m leaving someone out...

I’m fortunate to have
lots of cool art in my house [mostly traded or gifted].

If you could collaborate with anyone, living or dead, who would it be?

Eve Hesse or Ruth Asawa

Which emerging artist do you think more people should know about?

Too many to list. See above for starters!

What has been your greatest achievement to date?

That I’m still making art. And that I had a baby.

But you are probably wondering about art achievement and I don't feel like it's up to me to discern that. I feel like someone else can decide.

What has been your biggest roadblock?

Balance. Trying to balance everything. Family, art, day job....

How do you define success?

Being able to do what you love, and sometimes loving what you do.

Detail from bed drawing :: nocturna [we'll soon be three] 2009

What will be the name of your autobiography?

I could never write one - I think people would think my life is boring.

Ok, that would be it: My Boring Life.

What is the best piece of (art-related) advice you’ve ever been given?

If you are going to make a mistake, make a BIG one.


15 Questions about Art is an ongoing series in which we ask our collective favorite artists, writers, musicians, sleepy dreamers and object makers from across the creative spectrum to give us a glimpse into how they perceive art through a standard set of questions.

Please click here for the archives and check back next week for a fresh perspective.


Denise said...

I like what I know about Ruth Asawa and, of course, her work is beautiful. I saw a nice exhibition of her work in Los Angeles a couple of years ago. Lisa's answer to the advice question was a good one--go BIG or don't bother... I agree, but it's not always easy for me.

I'm going to take a look in your archives now.

Anonymous said...

This was an excellent interview, Lisa. I found what you said about the misconceptions about art particularly interesting.